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Going Gluten Free

(originally written 2/14/18)

I really, REALLY hate to cook. I love to bake, but I hate cook. I remember being about 12 years old, helping my mom make dinner and telling her that when I grew up and got married, I was going to find me a man who cooked so I wouldn’t have too. As I’ve gotten older, my distaste for cooking has remained. I especially hate cooking for myself.

A few years ago, I started having some stomach issues. Bloating, pain, upset stomache, etc. 
At first I thought it was because of how often my husband and I ate out or ordered in (greasy foods, like pizza). So we cut back on that. It helped some, but not much. Then I started cutting out dairy. And there again, it helped some, but not a lot. Mostly I just found I couldn’t have milkshakes, cheese cake, things like that. So then I thought, “well maybe it’s all the cheap, prepackaged foods”. So I changed up my food intake again, and was making more from scratch. This made me miserable, (hate cooking, remember?) and it wasn’t making any difference.

My doctor suggested losing weight. I tried different diets, forced myself to do work outs I hated, and wasn’t seeing results. And the stomach issues continued.

Recently my mother suggested I might have Crohns Disease. In my search for information, I found I had many of the symptoms for Celiac Disease. At the time of this discovery, I was uninsured. I decided to go ahead and try changing my food intake again to see if it helped, and then go to the doctor when insurance came available. 
So here I am, 3 months into going gluten free, and it has helped considerably. But it has been emotional and challenging. 
The food makes me sad, and the hassle of making myself something seperate from everyone else frustrates me, but I no longer feel like garbage.

Here are some of the biggest challenges I’ve had with this transition:

- Gluten free foods are expensive! An 18 0z package of Udi’s frozen pasta, cost just a dollar less than a 25 count pack of Pull Ups. It’s cheaper to make a seperate meal for myself, than to feed the whole family the same food.

-I live in an area that doesn’t have much for gluten free dine out options, and next to nothing for fast food. (The only fast food places I’m aware of, are still about 20 minutes away from my apartment).

- They are not very filling, and they don’t taste the same. 
So not only are you paying twice as much for the same amount or less than regular foods, but you have to eat twice as much to be full.

It’s worth it to not be stuck in bathroom, or feel like walking death after eating. But it is depressing. I miss pizza. I miss cookies. I miss toast. I almost cried today when we went out for breakfast, because I just wanted to eat the piece of toast that came with my breakfast.

Remember how I said I hate cooking? There are days I decide it’s less hassle to just not eat, than to make myself food. Because even making a pb and j is extra work these days.

Now don’t get me wrong, my husband is amazing and has been going out of his way to make sure that I can eat whatever he makes for dinner, and is happy to cook for himself and Fish when need be. But up until last week, he wasn’t home from work until after dinner most days. And there’s still breakfast and lunch where I have to feed the tiny humans and myself.

I’m sharing this with you not to just complain, but to inform. Everyones tells you how much better you’ll feel when you cut out gluten, but no one warns you of the emotional side effects.

My friend Katie shared with me that when she found out she needed to go gluten free, she stood in the cereal aisle of the grocery store and cried, realizing she could no longer eat her favorite cereal. 
I understand Katie’ s experience. I did the same thing in the bread aisle this week. My favorite kinds of bread (Hawaiian and honey wheat) were on sale. And I couldn’t indulge. Instead, I spent more money on a loaf half the size, with slices half the size of the regular bread. I started to cry as I put the expensive, single, sad looking little loaf of bread in the cart and turning my back on the others. I felt like I was turning my back on an old friend, and betraying part of myself.

Many don’t understand this, thinking that it’s like any other diet where you can cheat here and there and all is well. This isn’t a fad diet to lose weight for me. 
It’s the difference between being able to enjoy a couple hour car ride, and not going on a vacation because you’re afraid of the time between bathroom stops. It’s having to choose between foods I love, or being in agonizing pain. And some days, it’s a really hard.